Beach Walk + Cambodia Town
Take a Walk on Long Beach and See the Mural Art in Cambodia Town
A trip to the coastal city of Long Beach is not complete without a … long walk on the beach … 3.5 miles (out and back), to be specific. But we recommend adding a little extra to the outing with a less-visited 2-mile bonus walk through Cambodia Town, featuring local murals and delicious food.
Find street parking near Bixby Park at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. Here you’ll find the historic concrete pad remains of a gun battery as well as a panoramic view of the city’s beautiful beachfront. Take the stairs or ramp down to the sand and find a mural on your right, representing the now-closed Bixby pedestrian tunnel.
To the west is the more-popular Alamitos Beach. Head east along the pedestrian multi-use walkway or dip your feet in the sand along Junipero Beach. Notice the boats surrounding a nearby island? This is Island White, one of four artificial oil islands (the only decorated ones in the US) named after astronauts who lost their lives in service.
Take one of the next two staircases on your left, leading you to Bluff Park. It’s a great alternative to the sand and provides more expansive views. You will also find plenty of California golden poppies and other wildflowers, along with The Lone Sailor sculpture, one of a series of replicas around the US honoring the Navy. At the eastern end of the park, head back down to the beach, reaching Belmont Pier, another memorial for those who have served. Check out Belmont Brewing Company for a local beer and outdoor dining and, if you brought your dog, visit the neighboring stretch of sand—Rosie’s Dog Beach, the only one of its kind in Long Beach.
CAMBODIA TOWN: Long Beach has no shortage of public art, but some of the most unique can be found in the city’s historic Cambodia Town, home to the largest Cambodian community outside the country itself. Park on the street and start your walk at the corner of Alamitos and Anaheim, heading east on Anaheim Street. We recommend using this map for your tour. (Note: Not all artworks are listed, so look for more!) You’ll start with “The Golden Boy” right before Orange Avenue on your left.
There are numerous artistic offerings, but highlights include “Unity through the Strength of Diversity,” which emphasizes the Latino and Cambodian influence of the area, and “The Spirit Within,” a massive piece across the United Cambodian Community Center façade welcoming visitors. Head back to your car by heading south on Orange Avenue for 2 blocks to find a satisfying reward. At 10th Street, there are more murals and Crystal Thai-Cambodian Cuisine, our favorite for takeout in the area. You can’t go wrong with the myriad Cambodian curries on the menu, but we also like Lok Lak (a savory meaty dish), Somlor Machu Yuon (Khmer sweet and sour soup) and Papaya Salad to round it out. Nyam bai!
To get to Bixby Park and Junipero Beach, take the I-710 south to Shoreline Dr. After 2.3 miles (passing the famous aquarium), take a right onto Ocean Blvd. After 1 mile, you reach Junipero Ave., the park, and the start of the beach walk (find street parking here). Dog-friendly (but not on the beach)!
Story and photos by Matt Pawlik.
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